Some like their coffee black, some like it light. And now Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is officially going blue in the race for the White House.
The Jewish coffee shop magnate officially endorsed Hillary Clinton Wednesday, saying “it’s obvious (she) needs to be the next president.” In a business breakfast hosted by CNN Money, the Seattle-based CEO said that expressing his support for Clinton is not “a perfect situation” but that Trump’s side demonstrated “such vitriolic display of bigotry and hate and divisiveness, and that is not the leadership we need for the future of the country.”
Schultz is a lifelong Democrat who had endorsed President Obama in the past two election cycles, so the endorsement is not a huge surprise.
It is also not his first showdown with Donald Trump and his supporters. Last year, Starbucks’ decision to remove Christmas symbols from its holiday season coffee cups drew the ire of Trump, who suggest to boycott Starbucks.
The boycott idea quickly reemerged online Wednesday, as Trump supporters took to Twitter, using the hashtag #BoycottStarcuks to try and encourage Republicans to take their coffee business elsewhere.
While Schultz was never shy about making his political views on domestic issues known, he had carefully steered clear of taking any position regarding the Mideast conflict, despite attempts to draw Starbucks into the discussion.
In 2011, in light of the government shutdown, Schultz, through the organization No Label, led a drive to freeze all donations to political candidates until they pledge to reach a bipartisan agreement on spending and deficit reduction. He has since gone back to contributing to politicians, almost exclusively to Democrats.
Schultz’s endorsement of Clinton does not necessarily mean he does not have other thoughts about the future leadership of America. In his CNN interview, the Seattle coffee king, who grew up in a modest Brooklyn Jewish family, refused to rule out the possibility that he himself would be interested in running for president some day.
“I’m a young man who has a lot of time in the future,” Schultz said. “I would never say never, but this is not the right time.”
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Starbucks Chief Howard Schultz Backs Clinton — May Run Himself One Day